Marijuana is a hot topic among state ballot measures for 2016 and its highly likely after the votes are counted a fourth of the U.S. population will reside in states permitting recreational use of cannabis.

medicalmarijuana_406x250Among the 163 total measures that qualified for spots on ballots across 35 states this year, few are stand-outs and none directly involve food safety. States that have proposals for recreational use of marijuana, however, have to decide how to regulate grow houses and pesticide use and how edibles are made and marketed.

Some of those details are contained in the language of the individual initiatives; others will have to be worked out later. Most of the money and polls are down for wins across the board for the marijuana ballot measures. Internet billionaire Sean Parker has contributed more than $8.5 million to the pro-campaign in California.

The 10 marijuana ballot measures are actually a mix of medical and recreational questions in eight states. But with medical marijuana already legal in 25 states, the impact of these elections on recreational marijuana is getting the most attention.

  • Arizona Marijuana Legalization, Proposition 205
  • Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, Issue 7
  • Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, Issue 6
  • California Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization
  • Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization, Amendment 2
  • Maine Marijuana Legalization, Question 1
  • Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization, Question 4
  • Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative, I-182
  • Nevada Marijuana Legalization, Question 2
  • North Dakota Medical Marijuana Legalization, Initiated Statutory Measure 5

The 26 states, mostly in the West, that permit citizen initiatives and referendums to reach the ballot by petition account for 72 or 44 percent of this year’s 163 ballot measures. Only a handful of these have anything to do with food or agriculture, let alone food safety.

White Leghorn egg-laying chickens in cages in their hen house.Farming question
Massachusetts Minimum Size Requirements for Farm Animal Containment, Question 3 (2016)

Less of Massachusetts will likely be involved in farming if animal activists get their way.   They are back with a ballot measure to prohibit breeding pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens in “confined spaces.” Opposed by farm and agricultural groups with little money (about $75,o00),  Question 3 is being promoted by well-funded animal activist groups, with more than $1 million coming from the Humane Society of the United States.

Question 3 defines confined as meaning that which “prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely.” This law would also apply to business owners who knowingly sell pork, veal, or eggs from animals held in this way, even if the source is outside of Massachusetts

Hunting and fishing questions
• Indiana Right to Hunt and Fish, Public Question 1
• Kansas Right to Hunt and Fish, Constitutional Amendment 1
• Montana Animal Trap Restrictions Initiative, I-177
• Oregon Wildlife Trafficking Prevention, Measure 100

Indiana and Kansas are asking voters if they want to OK “right to hunt” initiatives. If approved, the two states would join about two dozen states with similar “right to hunt” laws.

Montana’s I-177 would end trapping on public lands. Currently, Montana issues more than 2,500 licenses for trapping fur-bearing animals. Hunting and trapping groups oppose the measure, which reached the ballot through paid signature-gathering services with support of environmental groups.

Oregon’s Measure 100 would ban the sale of products and parts of 12 types of animals in the state: elephant, rhinoceros, whale, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, sea turtle, ray and shark, except the spiny dogfish. Certain activities and commodities would be exempt from the ban, including antiques more than 100 years old, fixed components of musical instruments, transfers by inheritance, donations for scientific or education purposes, and parts possessed by enrolled members of Indian tribes. Violating Measure 100 would be punishable by a civil penalty up to $6,500 or twice the prohibited product’s value, whichever is greater.

Beer and wine question
Oklahoma Regulations Governing the Sale of Wine and Beer, State Question 792

Oklahoma’s Q-792 would allow grocery stores to sell full strength beer and wine, which now can only be sold in liquor stores in the state.

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